Council-operated CCTV cameras look set to stop running in two of the region’s town’s after a vote to axe the contract.
North East Derbyshire District Council moved to stop the £38,000-a-year contract in Clay Cross and Dronfield when they expire in March 2014, as recommended in the medium term financial plan.
In the report, brought before cabinet on September 25, the CCTV systems are described as dated with poor image quality and being “no longer fit for purpose.”
North East Derbyshire District councillor and magistrate, Martin Thacker, said the systems – which are more than ten years old – are not currently providing value for money for tax payers.
He said: “I support the decision. It’s not the best use for public money. No convictions in a court of law have come from those CCTV cameras.
“From what I can gather the quality of the CCTV images aren’t good enough. In a court of law, magistrates need to be convinced beyond all reasonable doubt. If there’s any reason to doubt that person isn’t the defendant, they can’t convict.”
“There are other ways to ensure people feel safe. It’s about getting bodies on the street, officers and PCSOs. You can also help residents to protect their homes better. It’s not just about reassuring people with cameras when they are walking down the street when they realise nothing is coming of it.”
But the decision has sparked anger on social media sites and has been branded “disgusting” and a “ridiculous measure”.
One Facebook user, Pat Hales, said: “CCTV works well to prevent crime. What a great advert for criminals.”
Another, Dot Clark, added: “Why not encourage more crime? This is just what we all need!”
A spokesperson for North East Derbyshire District Council said approximately 24 cameras in Clay Cross and eight in Dronfield will be affected, but said they are considering replacement options.
She added: “The future of the current CCTV system has been reviewed because the technology is becoming dated and no longer represents value-for-money. This is not about cutting costs.
“The current system will continue to operate in Clay Cross and Dronfield until March 2014. Before then we will be consulting with partners – including the police and local parish councils – to discuss replacement options for the future.
“The safety of our communities remains a high priority for the council. CCTV is one of a range of measures we use to tackle crime and the fear of crime, and we need to ensure it is fit for purpose.”
Superintendent Lecky Grewal, from Derbyshire police, added: “We will work closely with the local council in relation to the review and future replacement for the current CCTV system.
“It is important to make clear that the current system will continue to operate until March 2014, by which time a thorough consultation will have taken place and an appropriate solution identified to ensure our communities stay safe.”